Cracking Good

While testing recipes for this month’s Alaskan crab feature “Polar Harvest,” we cracked piles and piles of shells to get to the wonderfully sweet white meat inside. AIl Alaskan crab is sold precooked, and while you can purchase the crabmeat frozen, it can be, worth the trouble to buy crab in the shell for recipes such as crab and fennel stew (see page 69 for recipe) where the shells enrich the broth. Find the coral-colored legs sold separately ‘ or in clusters—five legs attached to part of the body—at the supermarket. These tools make extracting the meat a snap. 1 A wood, stainless-steel-tipped meat mallet is strong enough to crack claws, but light enough that it won’t crush the delicate meat inside. 2 Ideal for digging out meat from legs and smaller joints, a** two-pronged fork** also doubles as a utensil for dipping meat into spicy clarified butter or other sauces. 3 A classic seafood cracker has forceful hinges that easily break through thicker shells. 4 When splitting legs lengthwise for dishes like broiled crab legs (see page 69 for recipe), snip through shells with Progressive’s skinny-blade scissors. 5 With a nonslip grip, Oxo’s seafood pick draws the meat out of extra-long crab legs; use the curved side to scrape out every last bit inside the shells.